Local laws & etiquette
Drinking alcohol in the street (unless it’s the spillover area of a bar or pub) and going bare-chested are no-nos.
Dress code in churches is: shoulders and midriffs covered and ‘modest’ dress or skirt length for women, while for men vests and really short shorts are frowned on – though these rules are only rigorously enforced in major basilicas like St Peter’s. Italians always say hello and goodbye in social situations – including when entering or leaving shops, bars etc.
A simple ‘buon giorno’ in the morning or ‘buona sera’ in the afternoon or evening goes a long way. ‘Ciao’ is for friends, family or young people. If somebody thanks you by saying ‘grazie’, it’s polite to say ‘prego’ (you’re welcome) in return.
Currency: Euro. Most cashpoint machines work with international cards, via the Cirrus circuit
International dialing codes:
0039 06 for Rome numbers from abroad
06 from inside Italy
00 to get an international line
Local time: UTC + 1 hour
Tipping: Italians tip very little; 5% is ample, and it’s often enough just to round the bill up to the nearest 5 or 10 euros
Emergency services: 112 (Carabinieri and general emergency switchboard); 113 (State Police); 118 (Ambulance Service)
Lee Marshall’s perfect day in Rome: Tiber walk, culture fix, watch AS Roma beat Juve, aperitivo with friends in Monti, pizza in Testaccio. Lee may now live in the Italian countryside but he still needs a regular dose of the eternal city, where he lived for 24 years.